Better Than Expected

“But I’m allergic to the cold!” Abby shrieks as she darts away from the frigid Pacific water.

We have made it to the west coast. Some of us were so excited that we ran the last couple hundred feet from the car to the ocean. For a family that is very used to the warm Atlantic Ocean, the cold and cliff-lined Pacific is quite different. However, we were determined to touch the water.

In general, California is different than I expected. San Francisco mostly fit with my imagination. The colorful adobe houses, tall buildings, local shops, and lots of traffic. Actually, we were moving so slowly through the business district that my brother and I were able to get out, use the bathroom, and then climb back in our car that had only moved across the intersection. But not all of California looks like this.

We’re staying in a cute little mining town about an hour and a half outside of Yosemite.  (My sisters have accomplished a lot of knitting while traveling to and from the park.) Except for a few Mexican influences, the town reminds me a lot of Appalachia. Not at all what I think of when I picture California. So it was a cool reminder that places (and people) often defy and exceed expectations.

Yosemite has done that. We spent a full day in the park today and a few hours yesterday. The valley is incredible, the rock structures are amazing, and the views are breathtaking.  There is so much to see, and everywhere we look is beautiful.

Today, we hiked around Tuolumne Meadows, the largest sub-alpine meadows in the country. Being at elevation 8,600 feet, hiking was not the easiest thing for a family used to sea level.  But we made it and even climbed Lembert Dome thanks to Evan. “This is the most strenuous hike we have planned.”—“But Dad, we didn’t plan this one!” Caroline responded.

And we didn’t exactly. We planned to go to the meadows and to hike, but we left the specifics open to how we felt. Hiking Lembert Dome was definitely a little strenuous (we took lots of breaks), but when we reached the top, we were really glad that we committed. There’s nothing quite like climbing above the tree line and looking down over the meadow, seeing the river meander through it, and gazing at the mountains surrounding us on all sides.

So I’d say vacation is going well. Controlled spontaneity and a couple challenges here and there make for an exciting trip. I can’t wait to see where our next adventures will take us.

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